WomenEd is a thing with Feathers!


This is the second of the 7 Habits of Hope Based (Self) Leadership symbolised by the Bird in Emily Dickenson’s poem ‘Hope is a thing with feathers’. This series represents my #Beboldforchange #HopeInAction2017 challenge to myself and invites comment, collaboration and engagement. Habit No.1 can be read here.

The openness to uncertainty, the willingness to embrace it, to persevere even when complexity and ambiguity reign, is the theme of this post. These qualities were seen in abundance at the #Womened event at Bablake school in Coventry on March 11, 2017.

Womened is the bird, we are this bird’s multicoloured, variegated, feathers. And it's dancing, vibrant, inspirational song.

All womened events sing the song of hope , even when posing questions to which we do not yet have the answers – @allanaG13 Allana Gay: How do we generate and sustain the big overarching conversation that will challenge and change the blindness to diversity that mars the official school curriculum? Asking, making the challenge, mobilising, creates the possibility for change.

A key area of uncertainty for me is around the question of identity; noting that I selected three workshops to attend that faced me into this issue:  @allanaG13 as above and @malcpd‍ Mal Krishnasamy on Intersectionality and another which did so unexpectedly. @rondell10_b Bukky Yusuf‘s question, ‘What kind of leader do you want to be through social media?’, sharpening my perspective on my online profiles. At the end of the day I left tired but buoyant and infused with renewed energy.

Hope is what we fly on, the wind under our wings. Hope provides the resilience to see failure as a necessary part of growth like @jillberry102 Jill Berry; the resilience that enabled @claircuthbert9 Claire Cuthbert to soar to the position as the youngest female CEO of a Multi-Academy Trust, championing the aspirations of disadvantaged communities.

My mantras throughout this series are:

“to lead others effectively, one must first learn to lead oneself”
“to lead change well, one must first be open to change in oneself”

And these mantras were reinforced by the participants in my workshop- Strengths Based Leadership Development. I felt how some women carry their strengths lightly with ‘fizz’, while others carry their's like a heavyweight. Yet others were reaching to explore unrealised strengths, which means embracing uncertainty, stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown. I thank everyone, even those whose voices I was not able to hear or engage with, for their courageous participation.

My Self-Leadership Challenge No 2

Where does my vision or sense of purpose feel at its the weakest, or least certain? What is the song that keeps me on my path? 

Read my answer here and share your own.


Author Profile



Exec. Coaching Consultant; Director: Society for Education Consultants. FLT & DfE Coach.

12 stories


Hannah Wilson Hannah Wilson @misswilsey 8 months ago
Fab post Charmaine - love this: "Womened is the bird, we are this bird’s multicoloured, variegated, feathers. And it's dancing, vibrant, inspirational song". A stunning metaphor for a vibrant & diverse community! X
B Yusuf B Yusuf @byusuf 8 months ago
Great overview capturing the energy, enthusiasm and spirit of the day, where we were being supportively challenged to be brave. Love your mantras, Charmaine!
B Yusuf B Yusuf @byusuf 8 months ago
P.s. Thank you for the mention
Jill Berry Jill Berry @jillberry 8 months ago
Enjoyed reading this, Charmaine - and so pleased it was a positive, productive day for you.
Anoara Mughal Anoara Mughal @ano 8 months ago
I loved your session. It was extremely thought-provoking.Thank you.
Annemarie  Williams Annemarie Williams @awilliams 8 months ago
Fantastic reflection on the day. I Iove the wAy diversity is celebrated by @womened and the constant freshness that this brings. You've captured this feeling so beautifully! Thank you
Thank you all for the feedback, womened has made it possible for me to find a tribe after moving out into coaching and consultancy after 29 years working in schools. You are all an inspiration!
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